US Stocks Fall

New York, Mar 29 (IANS): US stocks ended lower Wednesday as investors found little reason to push stocks a step higher amid a disappointing durable order report.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 71.52, or 0.54 percent, at 13,126.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 was down 6.98 points, or 0. 49 percent, to 1,405.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 15.39 points, or 0.49 percent, to 3,104.96, Xinhua reported.

Optimism about the US economy began to wane after a latest string of disappointing data. Investors became more cautious especially after major indexes hovered around multi-year highs.

A report released Wednesday morning showed orders for US durable goods rose in February as demand for cars, computers and capital equipment spurred the fourth monthly gain in the last five months, but the figure was still lower than market expectation.

According to the US Commerce Department, orders for durable goods increased 2.2 percent after a revised 3.6 percent decline in the prior month.

Material and energy sectors were among the laggards in the market as oil prices tumbled amid an unexpectedly build in inventories, pushing related stocks higher.

Adding to the pressure, concerns over a slowdown in China also weighed on the market. China's benchmark indexes plummeted Wednesday, affecting global stock markets.


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